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STUDENT SPOTLIGHTS

Eric Haskell, PAS
Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Class of 2021

Colorado Campus

Where is your hometown?
Englewood, CO

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests, and hobbies)?
Adventures with my girlfriend and 10-year-old herding dog, climbing mountains via rock faces, descending mountains on skis, enjoying home-cooked meals with friends around a campfire after a long day outside.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I've flown into various ranges of Colorado for mountain rescue via several different helicopter's including A-Stars, Blackhawks and Chinooks.

How long have you been doing research?
This past year has been my first experience conducting research.

Where did you get your undergraduate? What was your degree?
I received my Bachelors of Art in Philosophy at University of Montana

What type of research are you currently doing at RVU?
My current research looks at the prevalence of traumatic events and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in professional and recreational alpine sports. Prior to being a student at RVU, I worked and recreated in the mountains. I saw numerous accidents and felt their effects on the communities I lived among. PTSD research over the years has expanded from veterans to include other high risk professions and I wanted to further that research. My research will be published in The Avalanche Review this month.

Anything else you would like to share:
Descartes separated the mind from the body; however, my studies in philosophy and medicine have shown me that the two are more interconnected than we think. As future health care professionals, it is important that we contemplate and treat the whole patient, not just one part.



Kevin Seely, OMS II
College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2024
Southern Utah Campus

Where is your hometown?
Syracuse, UT

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests, and hobbies)?
I am an avid mountain biker, water-skier, and writer. I value time with family and friends, and I enjoy meeting new people and trying new things.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I am a devout student of the work and writing of Simon Sinek, who continually inspires my personal and professional development philosophy. I am always eager to discuss the concept of why we do what we do in medicine, what drives highly motivated people, and how to live a life full of growth, fulfillment, and positive contribution to the world.

How long have you been doing research?
My first formal research engagement began in the fall of 2017, and I have been involved in at least one project at any given time since then.

Where did you get your undergraduate? What was your degree?
Weber State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry (ACS Certified) and a minor in Asian Studies.

Did you do any research while in undergraduate? What was it?
My undergraduate research was conducted with mentors from the department of chemistry and biochemistry. The most impactful work in which I participated involved a unique statistical analysis model called factorial design. Using this model, a researcher may evaluate multiple variables at once in contrast to the traditional independent-variable design. We published our work in the Weber State University Journal of Undergraduate Research and presented this study at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research in 2019.

What type of research are you currently doing at RVU?
My current research interests involve using quantitative ultrasound technology to evaluate gastrointestinal diseases, ultrasound utilization in general surgery, ultrasound training in medical education, telehealth in the management of chronic disease, and the role of surgeons in combating the opioid epidemic. Additionally, I am in the Physician-Scientist Track at RVU, which has enhanced my understanding of clinical research through formal training and participation in the research and publication process.

Anything else you would like to share:
Writing is an often forgotten yet crucial component of the scientific method. Your research means little unless you can convey your findings effectively in writing. Hone your technical writing skills early, expand your vocabulary, and have correct grammar conventions at your command. Doing so will guide your research, expand your ability to generate ideas, improve your ability to critically analyze scientific literature, and make you a better communicator overall.



Tony Casper, DO
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Graduate Class of 2021

Southern Utah Campus

Where is your hometown?
Morgan, UT

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests, and hobbies)?
Soccer, cycling, mountain biking, pickleball, and exploring the outdoors with my wife and two sons. Also, trying in vain to reach the fitness levels of the retired residents of St. George.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I once held a record for fastest time eating a 2 lb. hamburger at an Idaho diner. To this day, I don't really like eating hamburger meat anymore.

How long have you been doing research?
I have been doing research since my undergraduate years. I am fortunate to have had great mentors that have facilitated these opportunities and have helped me navigate the complex process of developing, conducting, and publishing research projects.

Where did you get your undergraduate? What was your degree?
I went to Utah State University and graduated in Human Biology.

Did you do any research while in undergraduate? What was it?
My first research project was what got me interested in going into medicine. It was conducting clinical testing for a noninvasive hematocrit device developed by an engineering company. The device was sold to Fresenius before the FDA approval process was completed. I also had a job as a research coordinator at a company that conducted phase III trials for medications for a wide variety of medical conditions.

What type of research are you currently doing at RVU?
I'm going into radiation oncology, so I am involved in couple of projects with researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute. The big one is a randomized control trial looking at decreasing the number of brachytherapy radiation treatments for women with cervical cancer (SAVE trial). Also, I recently authored a paper looking at secondary malignancies in women who have had ovarian cancer.

Anything else you would like to share:
Finding and completing research projects can be a frustrating process. It often feels like another hoop to jump through. Although it sounds cliché, if you are engaged, enthusiastic, and humble in your interactions with physicians and other medical professionals, research opportunities are more likely to come. My best projects have come in my 3rd and 4th years of medical school by being in the right place at the right time and being enthusiastic.



Danny Sullivan, OMS III
College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2022
Southern Utah Campus

Where is your hometown?
St. George, UT

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests, and hobbies)?
Spending time with my wife, two boys, and dog; running (doing St. George Marathon this year), podcasts, backpacking; watching Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office, Breaking Bad, and Reno 911

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I had a chance to meet and have dinner with Wayne Quinton, who was the biomedical engineer who built the first prototype for a treadmill used for physical exercise in the 1950s. He also built the first cannula used for dialysis. I met him in his mid 90's and he has passed away in recent years.

How long have you been doing research?
A little under 1 year.

Where did you get your undergraduate? What was your degree?
I received my B.S. in Biology with emphasis in Biomedical Science and Chemistry Minor at Dixie State University.

What type of research are you currently doing at RVU?
I published three clinical images with a 300-word case description on Extensive Ossification of the Achilles Tendon to the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine which is scheduled to be officially published in May 2021. I am leading a scoping literature review of Extensive Ossification of the Achilles Tendon with and without fracture. This is the first literature review ever to be written on this particular condition, and we are submitting the manuscript in the coming weeks to the Journal of Clinical Medicine. I am leading a randomized trial testing a new vaginal speculum with a unique design. I have just accepted to the Foundations of Anesthesia Education and Research two-month fellowship at the University of Kentucky where I will be working along with the head of Anesthesia research being involved in a project where we will be trying to find any genetic associations with the risk of vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Anything else you would like to share:
Don't feel pressured to do a ton of research in the first two years of medical school. Focus on doing the best you can in your classes and boards, and the right time for research will come. Also, if you are wondering 'how do I start doing research,' just start, and ask people along the way for advice. I wouldn't have gotten ANYWHERE in research without Dr. Amanda Brooks and Jen Fisher. Finally, have high expectations for yourself. When you start a project, ask yourself when it will be published, not if it will be published.



Patrick Flannery, OMS II
College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2023
Colorado Campus

Where is your hometown?
Knoxville, TN

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests, and hobbies)?
I enjoy snowboarding badly in the winter and surfing even more badly in the summer. Also hikes with my dog Grymauch.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I lived in Germany for 4 years.

How long have you been doing research?
I have been doing research about 11 years.

Where did you get your undergraduate? What was your degree?
I received my B.S. in Microbiology from the Auburn University. War Eagle!

Did you do any research while in undergraduate? What was it?
I worked as an undergraduate studying the metal ion requirements of mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) in yeast.

What type of research are you currently doing at RVU?
We use a combination of computer modeling, CRISPRi/a libraries, and xenograft models to better understand the molecular mechanisms that provide chemo resistance in cancers that contain KRAS mutations. 



Austin Page, OMS III
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Class of 2022

Southern Utah Campus

Where is your hometown?
Peoria, IL

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests, and hobbies)?
Outside of school, I have a beautiful wife who is also a nurse, so she keeps me grounded and always reminds me how much I still have to learn. We recently found out that we will be adding a baby girl to our family in June, so that's been the main focus of the family!

Outside of medicine, I enjoy homebrewing, skiing, and all things Chicago sports. I also have 2 pet rats and 2 guinea pigs that keep me occupied when the chaos of medical school just isn't enough.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I used to play Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 semi-professionally when I was in high school. Unfortunately, I'm not that great anymore.

How long have you been doing research?
I started doing research/academic projects at RVU during my 1st year.

Where did you get your undergraduate? What was your degree?
I received my B.S. in Integrative Biology from the University of Colorado.

Did you do any research while in undergraduate? What was it?
I did some minor research projects that never came to light

What type of research are you currently doing at RVU?
The first project I started at RVU was a chapter in an ultrasound manual on fluid resuscitation and assessing volume status with ultrasound. My most recently published article was with Dr. Brooks, Dr. Towne, and 2 other students from the RVU-CO campus on epitope characterization of anti-drug antibodies. I'm currently working with Dr. Ryznar, Dr. Choudhury, and 2 other RVU-CO students on a study looking into mechanical and manual CPR on cardiac arrest patients.



RESOURCES

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine has developed several specialized educational tracks and programs to further develop the education of interested students. These range from 3.5-year-long tracks to single-semester elective courses.

Student research/scholarly activity is a vital part of health provider education. Research enhances critical thinking skills and increases medical knowledge, as well as preparing students for graduate medical education. Therefore, all students are encouraged to participate in research activities while at RVU.

During their third and fourth years of medical school, students work on clinical externships, under the guidance of preceptors. RVU students have externships available to them through Colorado and the other Mountain West states.